When you list the number of networking events, meetups and organizations you could participate in, it could easily take up all your time outside of regular working and personal hours. The key to prioritizing the list is discerning which place will be both an efficient and effective use of your limited time to make new connections. And of course, remember, these are the ‘event’s—and true Networking can happen anywhere and anytime.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
Go where the like-minded go: Attend association and industry meetings specifically targeted for your interests and where other people like you will go. Sometimes you will need to be endorsed by a current member or be “invited” in. Decide how your time will be best used and maximized.
Your high “net worth”: hobbies: Many people meet at the golf club, country club, tennis court, or fund-raising art gallery openings. Figure out your interest and then get involved and attend special events and meet new people. And develop stronger relationships with those you already know.
Do some internal research: While you might have your own agenda for meeting other executives, be sure to consult with others in your organization. You might want to touch base with your internal teams and find out what history your company has with some of the business leaders you’ll be meeting. This way you can use it during your conversation as an opener.
Speak and grow your contacts: You may be invited to speak at conferences and association meetings. Research the profile of attendees to be sure these match the profile of the contacts you may connect with because of your industry knowledge.
Prepare your personal branding message: Your company message is key. However, your personal message can really be a door opener. Think about your personal experiences and background that will be of interest to your peers. It might be related to labor relations or how you coped with new government regulations. Show how you creatively handled problems that you know others are facing and see if you can position yourself as a potential resource.
These are just a few simple ideas on how to keep networking continually and successfully. Let me know your thoughts on what you would add and what’s worked for you.